Charles Dickens and Liverpool.

Charles Dickens and Liverpool. 2018-05-11T11:10:06+00:00

 

The following locations in Liverpool are associated with the Victorian author Charles Dickens during his lifetime. Dickens visited Liverpool a number of times to perform speeches, reading tours and also he departed from here on his two trips to North America.

Click on a location to get more information and to access further pages.

 

TitleDescription
Adelphi Hotel. Charles Dickens stayed at the Adelphi Hotel a number of times.
Liverpool Workhouse.

Charles Dickens visited injured soldiers here in March 1860 for an article he wrote.

Mechanics' Institute.

Charles Dickens made his first public appearance in Liverpool at the Mechanics Institute, located in Mount Street.

Philharmonic Hall.

Charles Dickens made a number of readings here.

St. Georges Hall.

Charles Dickens made a number of readings here.

Theatre Royal.

Charles appeared in an amateur performance of Every Man In His Humour here in 1847.

 


Chronology.

  • We are currently putting together a chronology of Dickens’ visits to Liverpool based on newspaper reports, letters and other material as we come across them.
  • It is incomplete but we have included here whilst we compile it.

1844.

February, 26 (Monday). Charles Dickens visits Liverpool to give a speech in aid of the Liverpool Mechanics’ Institution. Arrives in the city with his sister, Fanny and brother-in-law. The address is given at the Institution’s premises in Mount Street.

1847.

July, 28. Charles Dickens appeared at the Theatre Royal as a performer in an amateur performance of the 1598 play Every Man In His Humour. Aided by William Charles Macready, Charles Dickens and his friends had originally mounted a benefit production of Every Man In His Humour in London in 1845. Dickens took the role of Bobadill; the noted illustrator George Cruikshank was Cob; and his best friend John Forster played Kitely. The production was successful enough to be repeated three or four times over the next two years including this show in Liverpool as part of a small tour (which also included a performance at the Manchester Theatre Royal in the same month).

1852.

February. Dickens appeared at the Philharmonic Hall on the 13th and 14th February and performed Not So Bad As We Seem by Bulwer Lytton and his own Mr Nightingale’s Diary which he wrote in 1851 with his friend Mark Lemon.

This was a very successful trip for Dickens, he wrote to Bulwer Lytton the following day.

“I left Liverpool at 4 o’clock in the morning, and I am so blinded by excitement, gas and waving hats and hankerchiefs, that I can hardly see to write, but I cannot tell you what a triumph we had.”

September. Dickens returned to the Philharmonic Hall later that year on September 3rd, performing Used Up, Charles XII and Mr Nightingale’s Diary to an audience of 1,668.

 

1858.

August. Charles Dickens returned to the Philharmonic Hall to give the first of his public readings in the city. Each of the readings would last two hours, and Dickens performed them over four days on the 18th, 19th 20th and 21st of August. On his first night the hall was a sell out and Dickens performed to 2,300 people. During this tour he read from a numver of his works including Dombey and Son, Boots At Holly Tree Inn, Martin Chuzzlewit and A Christmas Carol.

The itinerary of Dickens tour on this visit was as follows:

Dickens also took the opportunity to sell his books at the lectures during this tour in the city but they soon sold out, as he writes in a letter to his friend John Forster:

They turned away hundreds, sold all the books, rolled on the ground of my room knee-deep in cheques and made a perfect pantomime of the whole thing.

October. Dickens returned to the Philharmonic Hall on the 15th October and gave another two public performances. The itinerary on that day was as follows:

  • October, 15 (Friday). In the afternoon (3pm), Dickens gave a reading of the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son. In the evening (at 8pm), he gives another public performance, with readings from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

 

1860.

March 24 (Saturday). Charles Dickens visits Liverpool Workhouse to see wounded soldiers returning from India on the ship Great Tasmania.

A report was published a few days later in the local Liverpool Mercury newspaper reporting that:

Dickens visited at the Liverpool Workhouse the invalid soldiers who arrived from India in the Great Tasmania. Mr Dickens remained for about two hours, and during that time engaged in conversation with several of the unfortunate men, in whose statements he appeared to take great interest.

 

1862.

January. Dickens came to Liverpool in January 1862 as part of a national reading tour and used the Small Concert Room in St George’s Hall, which Dickens thought was ideal for his readings. On that occasion he gave three readings, ‘Bob Sawyer’, ‘David Copperfield’ and ‘Nicholas Nickleby’ he was due to give another three Readings the following day, but feeling unwell he travelled over to Birkenhead to clear his head.

The itinerary of Dickens tour on this visit was as follows:

 

1867.

Dickens returned to Liverpool as part of his national reading tour in 1867. Again he performed at St. George’s Hall which by now his favourite venue in the city, giving a series of readings in January and returning again in February.

January.

The itinerary of Dickens tour on this visit was as follows:

  • January, 17 (Thursday). First of three performances in Liverpool. Dickens reads Barbox Brothers and The Boy at Mugby, held in the small concert room of St. George’s Hall at 8pm.
  • January, 18 (Friday). Second of three performances in Liverpool,. Dickens reads Doctor Marigold and also the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers, held in the small concert room of St. George’s Hall at 8pm.
  • January, 19 (Saturday). Afternoon reading held in the small concert room of St. George’s Hall at 3pm. Reads A Christmas Carol.

Within days of finishing these readings, two further dates were being advertised in the local newspapers for the following month “in consequence of the great reception given”.

February.

On Valentine’s Day, 1867 Dickens travelled from Birmingham, where he had performed the previous evening, to Liverpool to give two more nights of readings.

The itinerary on this visit was as follows:

  • February, 14 (Thursday). Dickens returns to Liverpool, with the first of two nights of readings, held in the small concert room of St. George’s Hall at 8pm. Dickens reads Doctor Marigold and also the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.
  • February, 15 (Friday). Second of two nights of readings in Liverpool, held in the small concert room of St. George’s Hall at 8pm. Dickens reads Barbox Brothers and The Boy at Mugby.

 

1868.

October. In late 1868, Dickens was back in Liverpool appearing at St. George’s Hall as part of a national tour billed as the ‘farewell readings’. He performed on the 12, 13 and 14 October and also the 26, 27, and 28, where he read to packed houses.

The itinerary of Dickens tour that month was as follows:

  • October, 12 (Monday). Held in the small concert room of St. George’s Hall at 8pm. Reads Doctor Marigold and also the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers. The Liverpool Daily Post reported the next day that the:

The small concert-room in St. George’s hall was crowded to excess … We wish everyone could hear him. It will be something to boast of in after years. To see an author that has aroused a wider sympathy than any man since Shakspeare [sic] is an event altogether beyond the limit of mere curiosity.

 

1869.

April, 10 (Saturday). Dickens was entertained at a banquet held in St. George’s Hall in his honour. It was attended by the Lord Mayor and notable people from the city. Dickens was transported to the venue from the Adelphi hotel in the Mayor’s carriage.

 

 

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